25 ideas that created a country Elisabeth Åsbrink
What are the real Swedish Values? Who is the real Swedish Model?
In recent times, we have come to favour all things Scandi — their food, furnishings, fiction, fashion, and general way of life. We seem to regard the Swedes and their Scandinavian neighbours as altogether more sophisticated, admirable, and evolved than us. We have all aspired to be Swedish, to live in their perfectly designed society from the future. But what if we have invested all our faith in a fantasy? What if Sweden has in fact never been as moderate, egalitarian, dignified, or tolerant as it would like to (have us) think? The recent rise to political prominence of an openly neo-Nazi party has begun to crack the illusion, and here now is Swede Elisabeth Åsbrink, who loves her country ‘but not blindly’, presenting twenty-five of her nation’s key words and icons afresh, in order to give the world a clearer-eyed understanding of this fascinating country …
‘This quirky inventory of Swedish values explores the shades of grey behind the branding of Sweden as the shiny home of ABBA and Volvo ... But it’s not all Bergmanesque gloom. Åsbrink also celebrates Swedes’ sacred relationship with nature, the achievements of its social reformers and the indefatigable biologist Carl Linnaeus.’
Fiona Capp, Sydney Morning Herald
Elisabeth Åsbrink is a journalist and author. Her parents were Hungarian and English, and she was born and raised in, and now lives in, Sweden. Her previous books have won the August Prize, the Danish-Swedish Cultural Fund Prize, and Poland's Kapuscinski Prize. 1947 (the first of her books to be published in English, by Scribe in 2017) won the prestigious Letterstedt Prize, was translated into 19 languages, and was published in the UK, Australia, the USA, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Brazil, South Korea, Poland, Denmark, Finland, and Norway, among others. Her latest book is Made in Sweden.